Friday, September 14, 2018

2018 ~ The Year of SSB Transceivers

Why Build Another Transceiver?

10/16/2018 ~ See the latest Video on the Heathkit SSB Transceiver


10/10/2018 ~ Breaking the Guinness Book of Records.

1014/2018 ~ The Heathkit Rig is on the Air

Running 100 MW with just the Driver Stage the Heathkit Rig is doing WSPR. Just installed a Refined Driver Stage with the 2N2219 -- a healthy 100 MW. The Transistor with the heatsink in the lower left corner is the 2N2219






This is the WSPR Data at 100 MW



Get off the couch and start soldering!

73's
Pete N6QW



The SMD board above is the Plessey Bilateral Amplifier in surface mount. This is the work of Nick, G8INE who recently acquired a CNC machine. You can see the small size as compared to the ADE-1 DBM. Nick has done a superb job --and he reports it has been proofed and is a working board!

If you go to my website www.n6qw.com under the Sudden Transceiver link there is a link to G8INE and he has offered to provide the Gerber files for this really small board. Thanks Nick!

Pete N6QW

What are you thinking -- I am not trying to break any world record? My XYL asked me that question today -- why are you building another rig? Followed up by a snide comment that I had so many rigs now why do I need another one. Well the answer plain and simple because I can! 




For the longest time in the late 60's early 70's my success rate with homebrew SSB transceivers was miserable. At that time I lacked the more sophisticated test gear and let's face it some of the technology wasn't that great. Crappy Analog VFO's were high on the list of impediments! I also had to work and to give a fair share of my time to the family -- it is that balance thing.

But today that is all changed --better test gear, better technology like Digital VFO's and a bit more time. The latest project is to demonstrate that some of the components out of boat anchors can indeed be reworked to provide a very modern, very capable rig. I looked through eBay and have seen many crystal filters from heathkit, yaesu, icom, kenwood etc that can be had at very reasonable prices. A good friend just picked up a heathkit filter like the one in my latest rig for less than $15 including shipping.

Previously a big problem was having only the filter did nothing for you without also having the BFO crystals. With the Si5351 -- that no longer is the problem as you can have any BFO frequency between 8 kHz and 220 MHz-- that should cover a lot of filters.

The other factor is that with the currently popular bilateral or as I have demonstrated in the Sudden Transceiver, the single pass with relay switching the total amount of components needed can be had for very little money. Imagine a whole bilateral amplifier strip complete with filter for something in the $20 to $25 range. A digital VFO with BFO and color TFT is another $25 -- a homebrew complete rig for about $100 is a reality. Even less if you have a big junk box. You are only limited by your imagination.

BTW the Digital VFO includes two independent VFO's, USB/LSB select and a tune function. 

Stay tuned for more details on the heathkit SSB rig from the N6QW Laboratories.



73's

Pete N6QW


10/09/2018

The Heathkit 40M SSB Transceiver (N6QW Version) Hears Well!


The N6QW SSB Transceiver Complement:

Receive Section: (Currently working)

  • 2 X 2N3904 (Two SMD)
  • 2 X 2N3906 (Two SMD)
  • 2N3904 Rx RF Amp (Future AG303-86G)
  • 2 X ADE-1 (DBM)
  • 3.395 MHz Heathkit Surplus Filter
  • NE5534 Audio Pre-Amplifier
  • LM 380 Final Audio Amp
  • Arduino Nano
  • Si5351
  • 160X128 Color TFT
  • Band Pass Filter

Transmit Section: (Under Construction)



  • Transmit Pre-Driver, AG303-86G (MMIC)
  • Transmit Driver, 2N2219
  • Transmit Final, Mitsubishi RDHF RF FET
  • Low Pass Filter



This transceiver is on par with the Sudden Transceiver and yes Virginia you can even find some of the circuits in EMRFD. The 2N3904/2N3906 bilateral amplifier circuit (from Plessey) as used in this rig came from there. So it does have street creds for those who think that they will only look at circuits coming from that publication. 



73's

Pete N6QW

10/08/2019 ~ Columbus Day. Chris discovered America (or one of the ones that did) and now you can discover how to use old boat anchor filters in your homebrew SSB Rig!

You can even do WSPR with the new Heathkit Rig. This is receive only using the N6QW Digital Adapter. 



New transceiver  Heathkit 3.395 MHz crystal filter with two Plessey 2N3904/2N3906 bilateral amps. NE5534/LM380 Audio Amp, 2N3904 Mic Amp, 2XJ310 Relay Switched Rx RF/Amp & Tx RF ( a 2N3904 Rx RF for this video). 2N2219 Tx Driver, Mitsubishi RDHF FET for the Final and 2 X ADE-1's for Rx/Tx Mixer and PD/BM/ Arduino Nano, Si5351 and Color TFT.

Some thoughts on switching the BPF's and LPF for 4 Band Operation. On several of my rigs that were multiband and used a common buss for the filters I found bleed through problems and difficulty with drive through the BPF at higher frequencies. With six relays this give 4 bands with either the BPF or LPF and provides better signal isolation over that with a common buss. It will take 12 relays ( @ 60 cents a piece) for four bands and switching both the BPF and LPF. Bottom Line: only one set of BPF's and LPF's connected in line at any one time!



73's
Pete N6QW

Friday, September 7, 2018

2018 ~ The Year of SSB Transceivers

Using the Digital Modes WSPR & FT8

9-11-2018

Some nice spots into Africa and South America. Am using a new site for displaying information. This site also has analytics about your spots. Thanks Phil, VK7JJ.

http://wspr.vk7jj.com/


73's
Pete N6QW



This is about 15 minutes this morning, 7 AM PDST, running 10 watts on 40 Meters and a droopy dipole. You can see the paths favor NE SW and are pretty consistent even running 5 watts. Some of those paths are in excess of 12000 KM.

The secret is the newly designed and scratch built digital interface that can turn any SSB, USB capable transceiver into a digital workhorse. Unless you modify the Bitx40 it will not work without modification to USB. Most of my rigs are homebrewed by me and thus are USB capable.



I modified a sound card interface board from KF5INZ (eBay) which used a Serial Port for communication with my computer so now the lash up works on USB. The computer is a small form factor Windows 10 Intel NUC that is about the size of a CD case and 1 inch high. The software is WSJT-X and I have loaded this onto a Raspberry PI3B --but it only seems tom work with an earlier version of WSJT-X -- more time needed to sort that out.

FT8 is interesting and likened to long distance remote quickie sex. I will leave the rest to your imagination.

73's
Pete N6QW

2018 ~ The Year of SSB Transceivers

What it takes to build a SSB Transceiver? I could flippantly answer the question by saying a lot of luck, lots of parts (and/or lots of...